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Can Cold Weather Damage Electronics?

You already know that cold weather isn’t the best for your car, but what about the effects of the cold on your other electronics? What about moisture and humidity?

These are great questions, and that’s why we’re planning on answering them in today’s blog!

First off, here are some rather staggering, but maybe in retrospect unsurprising, statistics:

When it’s 0°, as it often gets down to in winter here in Bloomfield Hills, your car battery actually loses 60% of its power! And even when it’s 32°, your car battery has lost about 35% of its power. Yeah, you’ve probably experienced that if you’ve had trouble starting your car up so far this year, but there’s also the danger of your battery dying on the road.

There’s not much you can do about Mother Nature, but there are steps you can take to prevent this problem. First off, get your battery checked before the worst of this winter hits (or maybe it’s already hit Fingers crossed!)

While you’re at it, a complete vehicle maintenance check, especially changing and rotating tires, is a really great idea to do both pre-winter and during winter. But car batteries are one thing it’s easy for us to forget about, since they only need to be replaced on average every 3 to 5 years.

Is that time coming up for you?

(Biyearly or so car maintenance checks are much like HVAC maintenance checks in that way…that most people forget about them unless they’re on a scheduled program with us!)

But what about other warning signs that cold weather is damaging your battery? Well, not only having trouble starting your car, but hearing a weird clicking noise when you turn the ignition, is a definite sign. Also, check if your headlights dim when your car is in idle, then get brighter once you start. If so, that’s the beginning of a dead battery!

So it’s pretty self-evident that your car is in danger from the cold…But what about other electronics? Let’s say the power goes out in your house, and it gets down to freezing temperatures. Do you have to worry about your computer, your TV, electronic appliances, etc.?

Or the more likely scenario, if you leave your phone or laptop outside or in your car, and it’s exposed to subzero temps, will that ruin it?

Luckily – most likely, no.

Although the manual may say not to expose the phone or laptop to below-freezing temperatures, it’s very unlikely that the electronic components would suffer long-term damage. It gets cold here, but it’s not Siberia, after all! Although, again, if we’re talking battery-powered devices, those will quickly lose their efficiency. Very cold temperatures also make LCD screens function more slowly (but seeing as you’re not using the device at this time, that doesn’t really matter).

As you probably already know, it’s way more dangerous for electronics to be exposed to very hot temperatures. In fact, the CPU (Central Processing Unit; the brain) of a computer works better in cold temperatures, which is why you may have heard of giant computer banks being kept quite cool!

Overall, if you just accidentally left your computer in the trunk of your car for the night, you probably don’t need to worry. One thing that can happen, though, is that when you take the device back, warm air hits the cold device, which means condensation and moisture. Uh-oh.

There’s an easy fix for this, though: just don’t turn the device on right away when you bring it inside to warm up. Leave it off and just sitting there for about 4 hours, which should give any condensation time to evaporate.

And if you’re wondering, “HOW can I live without my phone for 4 whole hours??” Sorry, we can’t help you with that problem. Try talking to family members or reading a book! 😉